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How Cheap Fashion Is Changing the Way We Shop

Stores like H&M and Zara are selling mass-produced fashions sold at rock bottom prices—and retraining shoppers to buy low-quality clothes.

Where did you buy your last top or pair of pants? If you're like most Americans, you probably popped into a cheap chain like Target, H&M, Old Navy, T.J. Maxx, or Forever 21 and walked out with more duds than you meant to buy and a still-full wallet. Cheap clothes were once a niche in the retail landscape, and not particularly fashionable. Now, low-cost retailers H&M and Zara are the largest clothiers in the world by sales and cheap clothes have become cool: Consumers have bragging rights about landing a deal at "Tarjay" or a $10 frock at H&M for date night.

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